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June 5, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Tens of Thousands 'Celebrate Israel' in NYC Parade (JTA)
    Tens of thousands of people lined Manhattan's Fifth Avenue to show their support for Israel.
    The "Celebrate Israel" parade was held on Sunday afternoon, under the banner of "Celebrate Israel All Together." The parade also recognized 50 years of the reunification of Jerusalem.
    Nine members of Israel's Parliament were scheduled to march in the parade, as well as Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio also marched in the parade.

Japan Taking Cues from Israel on Cybersecurity - Jiro Yoshino (Nikkei Asian Review)
    With the recent wave of ransomware attacks highlighting the dangers of growing internet connectivity across the world, Japan is looking toward Israel's military-linked expertise in cybersecurity to protect its networks ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
    Hiroshige Seko, Japan's minister of economy, trade and industry, signed an agreement with Israel in early May for greater cooperation on cyberdefenses. This marks the first cabinet-level deal between the two countries on cybersecurity.

Radiohead Defends Upcoming Israel Concert amid Boycott Campaign - Duarte Garrido (Sky News)
    Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has defended the band's decision to play a controversial concert in Israel next month. In April, BDS published an open letter calling on Radiohead to cancel the Tel Aviv gig.
    "There's an awful lot of people who don't agree with the BDS movement, including us," Yorke told Rolling Stone magazine.
    See also Full Rolling Stone Interview (Rolling Stone)

Bryan Adams Said Set for December Performances in Israel (Times of Israel)
    Canadian rocker is expected to play in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Baby of Seriously Injured Palestinian Mother Breastfed by Jewish Nurse - Yael Freidson (Ynet News)
    During her entire shift in the pediatric emergency room at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zack nursed a nine-month-old Palestinian baby from Hebron whose mother was seriously injured and his father killed in a car accident.
    Between caring for one child and another, the nurse fed the baby. "I fed him five times," she said. "His aunts embraced me and thanked me. They were really surprised, believing that no Jewish woman would agree to nurse a Palestinian baby they did not know."
    The baby's mother is still in serious condition. The baby is expected to be discharged from the hospital and will be staying at his grandparents' home in Hebron, where his aunt will continue to breastfeed him.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:
  • Four Arab Nations Cut Diplomatic Ties to Qatar as Gulf Rift Deepens - Jon Gambrell
    Four Arab nations cut diplomatic ties to Qatar early Monday morning, further deepening a rift among Gulf Arab nations over that country's support for Islamist groups and its relations with Iran. Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar. All the nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic.
        Saudi Arabia said it took the decision to cut diplomatic ties due to Qatar's "embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region" including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and groups supported by Iran in the kingdom's restive eastern province of Qatif.
        Qatar is also home to the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, which is home to the U.S. military's Central Command and some 10,000 American troops. It wasn't clear if the decision would affect American military operations. (AP)
        See also Qatar's Deal with the Devil - Oubai Shahbandar
    Last weekend, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had a weekend phone conversation with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. Recent reports state that a Qatari official met with Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, senior military officer of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Khamenei's personal adviser. (Arab News)
  • NSC's McMaster: Despite Global Terrorism, Opportunity for Success in Shifting Middle East Alliances - Laura Kelly
    National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster delivered the key-note speech at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum, stressing that opportunities for peace and resolution can be found in times of conflict seen as bleak and dire.
       "Today we are witnessing a reassessment of regional relationships, most notably between Israel and a number of our Arab partners, all friends of America but too often adversaries of each other. Today, these interests are converging. This is an opportunity," General McMaster told the group of nearly 2,000 conference attendees. (Washington Times)
  • Manchester Bomber Met with ISIS Unit in Libya, Officials Say - Rukmini Callimachi and Eric Schmitt
    The bomber who killed 22 people at a pop concert in Manchester, England, last month had met in Libya with members of an Islamic State unit linked to the November 2015 Paris terrorist attack, according to current and retired intelligence officials. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:
  • Gazan Official: Abbas Halts Monthly Stipends for Hamas Ex-Inmates - Fares Akram
    Dozens of Hamas activists once imprisoned by Israel did not receive their support payments this month from the group's political rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Gaza-based official said Sunday.
        Abbas is under pressure from the U.S. and Israel to halt monthly payments to thousands of current and former prisoners who were held for actions linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP/Arab News)
        See also Did the Palestinian Authority Really Cut Off Payments to Terrorist Prisoners? - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Top Palestinian Official: Western Wall Should Stay under Jewish Sovereignty
    Senior Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajoub said on Saturday evening that Palestinians recognize that in any peace agreement the Western Wall should stay under Israeli sovereignty but the Temple Mount should not.
        In an interview on Channel 2's Meet the Press, Rajoub said: "We understand that the Western Wall must be under Jewish sovereignty, but the Temple Mount is ours....I hope that you understand that we recognize your right to exist. It is your right to build your state and live in it in peace and security, but in line with the 1967 borders." (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas Slams Rajoub for Acknowledging Western Wall Is Jewish
    The Hamas terror organization on Sunday harshly criticized a top Palestinian Authority official for acknowledging that the Western Wall is a Jewish holy site that must remain under Jewish sovereignty. "The statement is a national crime," Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said, which constitutes "abuse of the Palestinian people and their holy places." (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Expects Change in UN Voting Patterns, Netanyahu Says after Africa Trip - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned Monday morning from less than 12 hours in Liberia, stating that his appearance at the 15 member Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) summit opened numerous doors for Israel in Africa.
        Netanyahu met with 10 African leaders one after the next until his plane left Liberia at 8 p.m. Sunday, meeting each for about 30 minutes. In each of the meetings he told the African leaders that Israel expected a change in their voting patterns in international forums. Netanyahu was the first non-African leader to be invited to be a keynote speaker at an ECOWAS summit. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Nigeria, other ECOWAS Countries to Benefit from Israel's $1 Billion Solar Project
    Under the memorandum of understanding signed this week between the State of Israel and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Israel's leading solar developer will invest $1 billion over the next four years to advance green energy power projects across the 15 member states of the West African economic community. (Premium Times - Nigeria)
  • Jordan Repels Attack on Syria Border
    Jordanian border guards on Saturday foiled an attack on the frontier with Syria and killed gunmen riding motorcycles who tried to overrun their position, the Jordanian army said. Armed men on motorcycles who belonged to "terrorist groups and coming from Syria" tried to attack a frontline position of the border guards at the Rukban border crossing. (Agence France Presse/Daily Star - Lebanon)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The UN Human Rights Council Whitewashes Brutality - Nikki Haley
    Members of the UN Human Rights Council are - on paper - charged with "upholding the highest standards" of human rights. Does the Human Rights Council actually support human rights or is merely a showcase for dictatorships that use their membership to whitewash brutality?
        The United Nations must reclaim the legitimacy of this organization.
        The council must also end its practice of wrongly singling out Israel for criticism. When the council passes more than 70 resolutions against Israel, a country with a strong human rights record, and just seven resolutions against Iran, a country with an abysmal human rights record, you know something is seriously wrong.
        The author is the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. (Washington Post)
  • Israel's 1967 Victory Is Something to Celebrate - Michael B. Oren
    Israelis are celebrating 50 years since the Six-Day War - and with good reason. That victory saved us from destruction and reunited our holiest city. Ultimately, it also brought us peace with Egypt and Jordan and a strategic alliance with the United States. The Palestinians, by contrast, are mourning a half-century of suffering.
        We'll hear a lot this week about occupation and lack of Palestinian independence. Israel has a clear policy on this score: It does not want to rule over another people and is ready to begin immediate negotiations. Yet while Palestinian leaders claim they support a two-state solution, until they state that they favor "two states for two peoples," affirming both Jewish and Palestinian peoplehood and rights, the conflict will tragically persist. It is only through mutual recognition that Israelis and Palestinians will both be able to celebrate, rather than mourn, future anniversaries. (New York Times)

Six Days and 50 Years of War - Bret Stephens (New York Times)

  • In June 1967 Arab leaders declared their intention to annihilate the Jewish state, and the Jews decided they wouldn't sit still for it. For the crime of self-preservation, Israel remains a nation unforgiven.
  • Unforgiven, Israel's milder critics say, because the Six-Day War, even if justified at the time, does not justify 50 years of occupation. They argue, also, that Israel can rely on its own strength as well as international guarantees to take risks for peace.This is ahistoric nonsense.
  • Before we fall prey to the lazy trope of "50 years of occupation," inevitably used to indict Israel, let's note the following:
  • There would have been no occupation, and no settlements, if Egypt and its allies hadn't recklessly provoked a war in 1967. Or if the "international community" hadn't fecklessly abandoned Israel in its desperate hours. Or if Jordan hadn't foolishly ignored Israel's warnings to stay out of it. Or if the Arab League hadn't arrogantly rejected the possibility of peace.
  • A Palestinian state would most likely exist if Arafat hadn't adopted terrorism as the calling card of Palestinian aspirations. Or if he hadn't rejected the offer of a state 17 years ago. Or if he hadn't renounced his renunciation of terror.
  • A Palestinian state would also most likely exist if Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas - now in the 13th year of his elected four-year term - hadn't rejected it again nine years ago, and if Gazans hadn't turned their territory into a terrifying model of Palestinian statehood, and if the United Nations didn't treat Hamas's attacks on Israel as a nuisance but Israel's self-defense as a crime against humanity.
  • Israel needs a Palestinian state to safeguard its democratic future - in the long term. But the character of such a state matters at least as much as its mere existence. The Middle East doesn't need another failed state in its midst. Israel doesn't need another Hamastan on its border. Palestinians in the West Bank don't need it over their heads.
  • In 1967 Israel was forced into a war against enemies who then begrudged it the peace. Egypt, at least, found its Sadat. The drama of the Six-Day War will close when Palestinians find theirs.

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